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Thursday, June 13, 2024

PM Modi assails previous UPA regime for ‘neglecting’ country’s border villages


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Itanagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday slammed the previous Congress-led UPA government for ‘neglecting’ the development of the country’s border villages.

“While the country needed to build modern infrastructure on its borders, the then Congress government was busy doing scams. The Congress was playing with the country’s security by keeping the country’s borders and border villages undeveloped,” Modi alleged while addressing a largely attended public rally, ‘Viksit Bharat Viksit North East Program’ in the Arunachal Pradesh capital.

Referring to the Sela Tunnel project in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district, which he inaugurated virtually from the venue as he could not go there due to bad weather, the Prime Minister reiterated his style of working as per the needs of the nation and not for electoral considerations.

He promised the defence personnel and people of the Sela Pass area that he would come to meet them at this engineering marvel in his next term. The tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity and will improve the ease of travel for the people of Tawang.

The Prime Minister also said that unlike the earlier approach, he has always considered the border villages as the ‘first villages’ and the Vibrant Villages Programme is an acknowledgement of this thinking. Today, road projects for about 125 villages commenced, and foundation stones were laid for tourism-related projects in 150 villages.

At the function, Modi inaugurated, dedicated to the nation, and laid the foundation stone for multiple development projects worth about Rs 55,600 crore in Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, and Arunachal Pradesh.

He also dedicated Sela Tunnel to the nation and launched the UNNATI scheme worth about Rs 10,000 crore.

Noting the ‘ongoing national festival of Viksit Bharat from Viksit Rajya’, the Prime Minister acknowledged the new enthusiasm among the people of the Northeast for ‘Viksit Northeast’.

Reiterating his vision for the development of the Northeast, what he calls ‘Ashtalakshmi’, Modi described the Northeast region as a strong link of tourism, business, and cultural relations with South and Southeast Asia.

Talking about the over Rs 55,000 crore-worth of projects unveiled today, he said 35,000 families in Arunachal Pradesh got their pucca houses, piped water connections for thousands of families in Arunachal and Tripura, and connectivity-related projects for many states of the region. “These education, road, railways, infrastructure, hospitals, and tourism projects have come with a guarantee of a Viksit Northeast,” the PM added.

He further said that the allocation of funds in the last five years is four-fold more than the earlier times. “Whatever we did for Northeast in last 5 years, it would have taken 20 years for the Congress to complete the same amount of work,” Modi stated in a lighter vein.

The Prime Minister highlighted the Mission Palm Oil – a special campaign carried out by the central government keeping in mind the Northeast, and informed that the first oil mill under this mission is being inaugurated on Saturday. “Mission Palm Oil will make India aatmanirbhar in the edible oil sector and boost the income of farmers,” he said, expressing gratitude towards the farmers for taking up palm cultivation.

“The entire Northeast can witness the meaning of ‘Modi ki guarantee’ with the development work being done here,” Modi emphasised.

He noted laying the foundation stone for Sela Tunnel and Donyi Polo Airport in 2019, which have been inaugurated. “Whatever the time, month, or year may be, Modi only works for the welfare of the nation and its people”, the Prime Minister said.

Referring to the recent Cabinet approval for the UNNATI scheme for industrial development of Northeast in a new form and expanded scope, he underlined the working style of the government as the scheme got notified in one day and guidelines were issued.

He pointed out the push for modern infrastructure in the last 10 years, implementation of about a dozen peace accords and the resolution of border disputes in Northeast states. The next step, the Prime Minister said, is the expansion of industry in the region.

“Rs 10,000-crore UNNATI scheme will bring new possibilities of investment and jobs”, Modi said while spelling out his focus on start-ups, new technologies, homestays and tourism related opportunities for the youth of the region.

Throwing light on the government’s priority to making the lives of women in the Northeast easier, the Prime Minister mentioned the Rs 100 reduction in gas cylinder prices on the occasion of International Women’s Day yesterday.

Modi expressed delight that Arunachal Pradesh and the Northeast are leading the way in several development parameters and said, “Development works reach Arunachal and the Northeast like the first rays of the sun”.

He also mentioned multiple sarovars constructed under the Amrit Sarovar campaign, creating Lakhpati Didis in villages with the help of self-help groups.

“We aim to create 3 crore Lakhpati Didis in the country, and the women from the Northeast will also benefit from this,” the PM added.

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